tv [untitled] December 7, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PST
were made to advance to the department's language a. enhance the current system to effectively dispatch them. the department of emergency management, which handles police dispatch, provided an estimated cost of $57,000 as of 2008 to enable the dispatchers to identify certified bilingual officers in real time on their display terminals. dispatching only bilingual officers has the potential to jeopardize public safety and officer safety by causing slow response times. the department's first statement of the value, and the protection of human life as our highest
priority, cannot be compromised by not discussing the nearest police officers to a call for service. on any given time, there are limited numbers of certified bilingual officers on duty throughout the city and county of san francisco. there are approximately 160 certified bilingual members out of a total of 2627. next question -- next recommendation by occ -- for my interpreter training to qualified bilingual officers and civilian interpreters. in may of 2009, classes in cantonese and spanish interpretation with an emphasis on domestic violence victims were offered to department members. that was department bulletin 09- 105. there was an indication in june of 2010 that there were no funding for the glasses in the
future. in inquiring for the availability, it is costly and may be difficult to burn approval and during fiscal difficulties. for example, language services, the contracts service we have, they offer a course relevant to any language interpreter. the six-hour class taught -- the six-hour class costs $260 for students. the total cost, including for the instructor to of all certified bilingual instructors to stay the course, is $30,000. san francisco state university extended learning has a spanish- english interpreter program. the cost for the six-course program per student is approximate $3,650. the next recommendation -- rank and bilingual officers and bilingual civilian interpreter
is by their language proficiency 2 or really match personnel with the complexity of the communication. the department of unum -- the department of human resources certified bilingual capabilities of the city's employees, including members of the s.f. deede. it is a tier one city department with a separate budget. there would have to develop a system to test and rank the efficiency of bilingual members. the resources to do so would be costly. one individual member costs about $150. the next recommendation was to equip officers in the field with cell phones to access a phone interpreter when a qualified bilingual officer or civilian interpreter is not available. due to the current budgetary constraints, as a result of the
poor economic caught in -- the poor economic climate, equipping every officer with a cellular telephone would be prohibited. no cellular telephone has been issued to individual officers. the next recommendation -- develop an in house translation unit that translate documents, forms, materials, and presentations for the department. the department directs all translation to the language access officer who is a member of the community relations unit. the officer is required to of all requests for translations and interpreters fulfilled because he has access to the needed resources. therefore, that act as a centralized body that handles translation and interpreter requests. additionally, the community relations unit keeps in close contact with the office of civic engagement and immigrant
affairs, as well as the san francisco safety awareness for everyone. it is a nonprofit group that we have contact with. they handle a lot of the community relations separately. however, we do cornet with a lot of their activities. next, the recommendation was to implement a data collection system to analyze and make recommendations concerning the department's use of qualified bilingual officers, qualified civilian interpreters, and phone interpreters in light of the city's non-english speaking population and its needs. we are directed to add a comment in the computer dispatch system when a certified bilingual member has came into contact and interpreted speakers for each service call.
this allows the language access officer to remotely access data regarding the lep contacts. it is higher -- it is handled by a commercial entity. they provided data regarding the number of calls, the language and duration of the telephonic interpretation. the language access officer was able to analyze the over 60% of interpretations are made with spanish speakers. the next recommendation was to develop an in house subject matter expert on linguistic and cultural issues to design training materials, conduct community outreach, address language access concerns, promote technologically response of solutions, and evaluate the
effectiveness of the department's language access services. the department's language access officer has a cross-cultural, language, and economic certificate from the california certificate on teacher credentials in. the language access officer has training materials that he plans to use for upcoming training of recruits and veteran officers. as you know, we have not had eight recruit class recently. we look forward to providing training as soon as practical. the language access officer is also a member of the community relations unit. as a member of that unit, the language officer has access to technological tools such as wireless interpreter assist devices to use during community meetings. nearly every community meeting that occurred after the interpreter assist devices were
acquired had the presence of interest. the following were implemented to strengthen our compliance with the language access ordinance. number one, translation of juvenile justice brochures in five dominant foreign languages. purchase of 33 mode interpreter systems, receivers, and transmitters for use in meetings. translation of the advisory notice forms in five of the dominant foreign languages that are labeled as for foreign languages by the city and county of san francisco. no. 4, translation of follow up forms in five foreign languages in april of 2011. those are the new forms that we put together.
translation of sexual assault billons -- sexual assault victim's dna rights form in five or light -- in five foreign languages. hiring a certified interpretation for a heady task parmit hearing. these are events that occurred in the fiscal year and shortly after the fiscal year. commissioner chan raised a question no. 5 -- when the commission makes budget requests, what are the additional needs of the department for language access implementation, equipment, and other resources? the current language officer has not developed a formal list of implementations. every request from him regarding language access was approved by the administration during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. how are we doing in terms of
complying with the language access quotients? for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, 1.75% of complaints were made regarding violation of general order 5.20. the relative low number of complaints suggest the department was complying well with language access. the department aims to have zero occ in place and will continue to make improvements in providing excellent service. >> thank you for the presentation. did you want to have questions now, commissioners? i want to recognize we have missed beverly upton hear from the san francisco domestic violence coalition. do you want to wait? we can wait, then. if we could have the next presentation.
thank you, officer ha. >> you are welcome. >> good evening, commissioners. i am a policy analyst. and thank you for holding this hearing and i look forward to further discussion about language access. a little bit of background -- four years ago, this commission passed dgo 5.20 in collaboration with over 20 organizations. at that time, we said that the easy work had been negotiating a 14-page document. the real hard work would be implementing it. here we are a few years later and there are many things we can be proud of. shortly thereafter, community organizations continue were the with the police department. which produced a great video on training for officers in collaboration with the department.
which produce an officer reference guide on language access. many different forms were translated. we produce a brochure for the public in multiple languages. in that regard, we are happy with the progress that has been made. in 2009, looking at the kind of complaints are agency was obtaining and working with community organizations, which made a series of recommendations to enhance the language services that the department provides. it was really an opportunity to move here from good to great. in that regard, i want to talk about some of those recommendations right now. officer ha has talked to about some of those recommendations. there are seven particular recommendations. the first one is enhancing the protocol between 911 and the police department. the reason i raise that is, on one hand, one could say that does not provide an officer safety risk if 8911 -- if 911
knows the language skills of the officers on watch? but we want to look at where other law-enforcement agencies are going on language access. what we know is that the language skills of officers as well as other specialty skills of officers are a capability that many dispatch systems have. when we look at can the current system be enhanced, right now, we are looking at $59,000. why are we not looking at how do we get that money? how do we move it so that when someone calls, let's say they have a language issue. they have a weapon. the dispatcher is able to look and no of officers who are on duty, are these officers who have particular skills in the language of the caller? are they officers who are cit trained, certified for eiw? this capability to know the
skills of the officer, we are moving in this direction. when we made the recommendation in 2009, we were hoping we could come together and figure out how to enhance the current dispatch systems. another reason is when we look at the complaints that our agency has received and in the last two years we have had about 2500 language access compliance. we have sustained about five of those complaints. in six others, we had policy and training failures. what we see is that often, individuals will call. it will be speaking in their own language or they will be speaking in a way to let the dispatcher know they need a spanish interpreter or cantonese or russian. 911 provides them that service. what we do know is that information is not conveyed to the officers. the offer comes on scene and not knowing there is a language problem. in -- perhaps the officer did
not have an opportunity to look at it. there is no ability to plan for the language service at the scene. we have an example of when a sergeant did realize that there was a language need and that sergeant did make those arrangements. when we looked at the technology and how can we enhance the department, part of what we look to is can we improve the 911 dispatch system along with sfpd? they are saying this is a priority so that the language needs of individuals are being responded to at the scene. other recommendations that we made involved the training so that officers who are bilingual and civilians receive interpreter training. we also recommended cell phones for officers and the ranking of officers. certainly, those things cost money in. when you look can we enhance the kind of services, can we let that kind of -- can we look at the complaints we are getting
and make sure we remove obstacles, those are the kind of things i would hope to see in the department budget so that when the department is allocating and identifying areas that can be strengthened, being able to have a ranking system so that an officer who is doing a homicide interview is truly provision at that level versus an officer who is on the street providing a ticket, that there is some -- there is a way to match the officer with the type of call that there needed for. similarly, interpreter training -- the department of justice says it is basic training that a bilingual officer who is also working as an interpreter or is a filly in -- or a civilian working as an interpreter, the need to have a basic training so they know the rules of ethics, confidentiality, they know the rules as to what are the techniques of being an interpreter. those kind of things -- we would hope that the department would look at that in combination with
our agency and community advocacy groups. as well as with officers who are on the streets, the ones who are the bilingual officers seeing when it takes too long for them to get to the scene as well as the officers who are waiting for a language line or relying on a bilingual officer. if those officers were part of the discussion, i think we could then prioritize what are the most important aspects to enhance the language services that the department is providing. i have a few other comments about our recommendations. currently, 5.20 requires the department to track not only what language is being provided, but the manner in which language services are being provided. in our model, based on the department of justice, our model states that the best way to communicate is in the language of the individual. there is a premium on getting a bilingual officer to the scene or an interpreter. if that is not possible, then you move down the continue on
and the last, but better, route is to use a language line. part of the departments all -- part of the department's obligation, to what extent are bilingual officers and civilian employees providing services? the quality of interviewing a suspect, interviewing a witness, with an officer is of a different quality than if you are relying on a language line. we would suggest that the department -- originally, the problems were not attracted. four years later, we suggest the department began tracking the way services are provided so that we know if it is all language line or bilingual officers and civilians. that information will become critical when the department is providing its budget, being able to allocate slots for individuals who are bilingual or being able to look at those services becomes critical. a part of that is in the continuum of who can provide
services. bilingual officers who are qualified provide services but also civilian employees who are qualified. since 2007, the department has yet to put together a list of who those civilian employees are. that would widen the pool of individuals who would be qualified to provide interpreted services, especially for interviews at the hall. i suggest that the next step for would be to put together that civilian list, which is required under the department general order. lastly, we started out with over 20 organizations who have interested language access to give direct services. there are some on the street as to how things are going between the police department and their clients. we were working for many years together and, at a certain point, when there were so many changes between the department, we stop having those meetings. seeing that the department is
interested in reuniting those constituents along with the commission be interested in looking at these issues, we recommend that we meet together with the department that we have regular meetings with community measures -- with community members, and that we have these recommendations on the table and have an opportunity for individuals in the community to talk about what is working and what is problematic. commissioner chan: thank you for your presentation. i know you put a lot of work into it. the reason that we invited ms. upton here, special victims, including domestic violence victims, are extra in the services because it is a heightened time when they have the bravery to report that crime. if there is a language barrier, it makes it very difficult. the perpetrators can navigate english better and can jeopardize the situation. it is crucial.
in light you. >> well said. in good evening. beverly upton with the domestic violence consortium. we have made some progress. i do not want to appear that we have not made any progress at all. but i think we are in danger of losing those good steps that we have made and some of the progress that we have achieved. in 2000, the average domestic violence homicide case for sentences go -- for san francisco was 10 women. and it was 7 for limited english proficient the victims. seven out of 10 of our victims in 2010 had this issue very as a city, we have done a very good job. our homicide rate is down by 80%. at this year, it may be even better. we may get through the year with
one possible homicide and perhaps none. it would be the first time in my time here. but dealing with access issues coupled with the secure community issues have such a chilling effect on the community. secure communities is a different conversation. we are here to talk about language access. one of the issues facing domestic violence victims are wrongful arrest and dual arrests. in just as commissioner chan mentioned, an abusive partner or a season that batterer -- a seasoned batterer has a huge influence over the officers if he or she speaks english better than the victim. if the victim speaks no english at all, he or she is likely to be either wrongfully arrested as the perpetrator or a mutual arrest, as we are seeing
increase in lep households and same-sex households. that is another issue that i'm hoping the weekend of the department and its new leadership grapple with as we move forward. one of the other issues that has a huge chilling effect on the immigrant community is, if there is a wrongful arrest of the victim or a mutual arrest, the children in the household are sometimes left to be put into the system. if we arrest of the mother and the father, let's say, or both partners in the household, the children, if there is no family that is willing to come forward, in these days, it is having a chilling effect on families coming forward to take some of these children. we are not only seeing victims that could possibly be arrested and detained under secure communities, we are seeing
mutual arrest, which leaves children in a very great danger and risk and neglect to going into the system, which we do not want to have happen. the homicide rate of san francisco, at the end of 2011, i think it will be better than it down 80%. i think it will be down 90% and perhaps 100%. this is you will see the treasury going -- this issue will keep the trajectory going. if we do not stop it, i am afraid it could cost lives. commissioner chan: we have a line of people with questions. commissioner dejesus: i was here in 2007 when we passed this. the cell phone one, i understand it is cost-prohibitive. but i thought we had discussed
in one cell phone per car. right now, the way for a sergeant to come. that could be a valuable minutes. i am wondering if that is feasible, if finding the crime is more in the evening time for cars are out in the evening time, maybe those cars should have a phone attached to them. we should investigate to see if that is useful. two dozen cell phones might not be feasible -- >> i would like to get everybody at least a cell phone, to figure something out. that is definitely in my hopes for 2012. commissioner dejesus: it is an issue we as this -- we have discussed over and over again. everyone has had creative ideas but we have not acted on them. if you could call on that that would be helpful. commissioner kingsley: thank you
for your report. my questions are primarily directed towards the lep questions that officer ha presented to us. i see that there are five languages that have been identified as being the five languages which most of the activity is being directed towards. there is a chart on page one. french is not among the five languages but it is shown as the fourth most frequent language needed. what attention is being given to that statistical anomaly, perhaps, or disconnect? >> if you look at question no.
three, which identify the airport bureau that accounts for almost 90% of the total reported. from the numbers, it appears that, more likely, there are tourists and french rank no. 4. more likely they are tourists and not residents. therefore, that is why we came to the conclusion that french is most likely identified as being no. 4. not residents but the bulk of the french-speaking people that the officers come into contact with were actually tourists who were coming through san francisco international airport. commissioner kingsley: in terms of having a french interpreter, the airport would be the location to try to make that connection, i would imagine. >> yes, ma'am.
we collect from three different sources. from our system that is remotely accessed by the line with access officer, from the language services, the commercial entity that we have a contact with, they are able to tell us the specific city -- that specificity of each of these calls her. the third is a two-week survey that the city allows. that is what we used for the airport bureau, because it uses a different system. their system is identical to what the law enforcement agencies use in a different county. we do not have access and i cannot access that information. commissioner kingsley: you had
given some statistics in terms of the number of interpreters that have been available to the need. is there a breakdown as to how many interpreters fall within these language categories. for example, the number of interpreters for spanish, cantonese, and so on and? did i miss that? >> i did not bring that this evening, but i will provide that information to you as soon as possible. commissioner kingsley: in general, does it corelate that's our most of our interpreters spanish-speaking? that is where we are getting the greatest need. >> the overwhelming number of certified bilingual officers are certified in spanish and english. commissioner kingsley: would cantonese be the second-largest pool? >> yes, ma'am. commissioner kingsley: